On 2 March 2021 the Government announced that it had commissioned a review of the Pharmaceutical Management Agency, known as PHARMAC.

The Review will focus on two areas:

  • how well PHARMAC performs against its current objectives and whether and how its performance against these could be improved
  • whether PHARMAC’s current objectives maximise its potential to improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders as part of the wider health system, and whether and how these objectives should be changed

and will consider a range of factors, including:

  • the timeliness of PHARMAC’s decision making (in particular for new medicines)
  • the transparency and accessibility of decision-making processes
  • equity, including access to medicines and devices for Māori and Pacific peoples.

The government has acknowledged that PHARMAC is a model that’s critically important to the health sector.  However, concerns have been raised about access to new medicines, timeliness of decision making, and the application of criteria that inform PHARMAC’s prioritisation and funding decisions. The review will look at these matters.

Within the scope of the review will be how PHARMAC uses its budget to achieve the best possible outcomes. Out of scope will be the fixed nature of the budget and the total amount allocated to pharmaceuticals as these quite rightly are for the Government of the day to determine. See the Terms of Reference for more information.

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